All our nuclear eggs in a broken basket (case)

… and, so, far, not a peep out of our Local Enterprise Partnership – who put pretty much all our local eggs in that same government basket …

Wonder what (if anything) Johnson thinks of that?

Today’s Times (pay wall)

Flamanville points to nuclear fiasco

As French existential jokes go, little beats building a nuclear power plant at a place called Flammable. OK, it’s actually Flamanville. But who cares about that sort of nicety — not least when the project’s proving so incendiary?

It was due to be up and running in 2012 at a cost of €3.3 billion. Not only that. Flaming Ville was to be the showcase for the European Pressurised Reactor, the wizzy new tech developed by the state-backed EDF. True, it’s living up to the pressurised bit, at least for EDF boss Jean-Bernard Lévy. He’s just been forced to announce another delay: a howitzer, even by usual standards, of “more than three years”. The end of 2022 is now the earliest start date; a delay bound to jack up project costs that have already exploded to €10.9 billion

The reason? France’s spoilsport nuclear safety authority has ordered EDF to repair eight bits of dodgy welding: who’d have thought nukes had to be welded together properly? And, yes, the whole thing is turning into a nice French farce. Except for one thing, of course: the joke’s on us.”

AND (in more detail):

The latest delay at Flamanville comes after the French Nuclear Safety Authority ordered EDF to repair eight faulty welds at the plant.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, 64, EDF’s chief executive, said: “The time that we will need to prepare the repairs, carry out the repairs, test the repairs and get everything checked and then have the whole plant tested again and prepared to be launched, that will lead to delays of more than three years. So I don’t think it’s possible to commission it before the end of 2022.”

The European Pressurised Reactor at Flamanville was initially due to come on stream in 2012 at a cost of €3.3 billion. In its most recent estimate, EDF said that the costs had risen to €10.9 billion. The latest delay means that this will almost certainly have to be revised upwards.

Critics want EDF to take the reactor off the market, given the difficulties at Flamanville and elsewhere. Plans to build one in Finland are also running more than ten years behind schedule.

Engineers started working on the model in the early 1990s but only one — in China — has so far been switched on.

EDF reported first-half earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of €8.3 billion, up 3.5 per cent from a year earlier. Revenue rose by 4.3 per cent to €36.47 billion.

The French government plans to split EDF into two units under a state-owned parent company. EDF Bleu will hold the nuclear assets and be wholly owned by the state and EDF Vert will concentrate on renewable energy and services, with a minority stake in private hands.

The defective welds responsible for the latest setback at Flamanville were detected last year. EDF said that it would repair most of them but argued that those in the building enclosing the reactor could be left for now. Those are difficult to access and to repair.

EDF said that it was “highly improbable” that they would break and urged nuclear inspectors to allow the construction programme to go ahead without repairing them but the watchdog insisted that they should be fixed before the reactor was started up.

EDF said it would agree with the watchdog how to repair the welds.

“Further delay for Hinkley-style reactor raises pressure on EDF”

“The company building Britain’s new nuclear reactors has announced a further delay to its troubled high-profile project in France.

EDF, the French state-owned group, said that the launch of its nuclear reactor at Flamanville in Normandy had been put back three years until the end of 2022.

The group is leading the project to build two similar reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset at a cost of £19.68 billion.